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Did AI blow up your cloud bill?

The term artificial intelligence was first used in a 1955 proposal for a study submitted by John McCarthy of Dartmouth College, Marvin Minsky of Harvard University, Nathaniel Rochester at IBM, and Claude Shannon at Bell Telephone Laboratories. This happened before I was born. I find it kind of nuts that AI was discussed long before we had the computing and storage power needed to make it work.

As a decision support analyst fresh out of college, I built early AI systems that were too expensive to operate, so they were only used in specialized circumstances. It was a niche technology. Because of its high operating costs, AI fell in popularity from the early 1980s until about five to seven years ago. Now, cloud computing’s on-demand consumption model and much better AI technology have substantially lowered the operating costs, and AI is back in focus for enterprise IT.

Public cloud providers are the driving force behind the current AI resurgence. Even though AI technology is now better optimized (and let’s just admit that it’s fun to play with), you need to fully understand the business value that it can return and acknowledge when the ROI is not there.

What’s more valuable to AI than cheaper and more powerful compute cycles? The fact that storage is a commodity. AI gets its power from learning data and understanding patterns in that learning data, not from cleverly written algorithms. The more data available to a learning model, the more focused the data becomes and the better knowledge or understanding it creates.

Despite its substantially lower operating costs and the potential value that AI and machine learning can bring to a business, the return falls short in many cases. 2022 was a year of huge cloud cost overruns. An enterprise’s misuse of cloud resources in general creates most cloud cost overruns. In some cases, this means choosing cloud AI/ML systems when more pragmatic alternatives could return more value.

Many AI/ML systems are much more expensive to maintain. Specialized skills are needed to build and deploy these systems and then to operate them. “Cloud AI” just means that the processing and data storage are outside of the enterprise. Massive amounts of general purpose and purpose-built data are needed to drive AI engines, and that data must be stored, managed, and secured ongoing. You must also deal with data compliance.

Copyright © 2023 IDG Communications, Inc.


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Hackers Stole Over 200 Million Emails From Twitter: Security Firm

  • Hackers have stolen email addresses from over 200 million Twitter users, a cybersecurity firm said.
  • The database could be used to hack high-profile, political, or crypto accounts on Twitter.
  • “This is one of the most significant data leaks in history,” Alon Gal of Hudson Rock told Insider.

Hackers have stolen data including over 200 million email addresses from Twitter users and leaked it onto an online hacking forum, cybercrime intelligence company Hudson Rock told Insider on Friday.

The news was previous reported by outlets including Reuters, CNN, and The Guardian.

A database with the “unique records,” of 235 million Twitter users was posted onto a forum and made public, co-founder and chief technology officer at Hudson Rock, Alon Gal, said in a Wednesday LinkedIn post

“This is one of the most significant data leaks in history and will unfortunately lead to a lot of accounts getting hacked, targeted with phishing, and doxxed,” Gal told Insider in a statement. 

“I urge Twitter users to change passwords and to be suspicious of any phishing attempts, and for Twitter to acknowledge this breach as soon as possible.”

Insider was unable to independently verify the authenticity of the data Hudson Rock said had been leaked.

Twitter did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment on the leaks, and the social-media giant is yet to publicly acknowledge such a breach.

Gal warned in an additional LinkedIn post that hackers will take advantage of the database to hack “high profile accounts,” “crypto Twitter accounts,” and “political accounts.” Hudson Rock had earlier linked the hacking of British TV personality Piers Morgan’s Twitter account to the leak.

Hackers have been selling and circulating large amounts of both public and private data from Twitter profiles since July 2022, technology site Bleeping Computer said. The data came from a Twitter API through which users input their email addresses and phone numbers, with data from as far back as 2021 leaked.

Bleeping Computer reported that it was able to confirm the validity of many of the email addresses listed in Wednesday’s leak.

Troy Hunt, creator of website Have I Been Pawnd, told Bleeping Computer that the leak has been added to his website. Visitors to the HIBP website can use it to check if their email is part of the Twitter leak.

Gal had first reported that hackers had stolen the data of 400 million Twitter users in December. A hacker “Ryushi,” was demanding $200,000 to hand over the data so it could be deleted, per the BBC

Gal’s post on Wednesday clarified that the he believes the final count of the database is 235 million rather than 400 million. Hunt said in a tweet that he had discovered around 211 million unique email addresses linked to the Twitter leak. 




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Microsoft Co. (NASDAQ:MSFT) Shares Sold by Private Wealth Strategies L.L.C.


Private Wealth Strategies L.L.C. trimmed its holdings in Microsoft Co. (NASDAQ:MSFTGet Rating) by 42.8% during the third quarter, according to the company in its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The fund owned 2,623 shares of the software giant’s stock after selling 1,966 shares during the period. Private Wealth Strategies L.L.C.’s holdings in Microsoft were worth $610,000 as of its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Several other hedge funds have also recently added to or reduced their stakes in MSFT. Phoenix Wealth Advisors boosted its stake in shares of Microsoft by 2.0% during the 2nd quarter. Phoenix Wealth Advisors now owns 17,286 shares of the software giant’s stock worth $4,440,000 after purchasing an additional 343 shares during the last quarter. Jmac Enterprises LLC boosted its position in Microsoft by 1.0% during the second quarter. Jmac Enterprises LLC now owns 16,798 shares of the software giant’s stock worth $4,314,000 after acquiring an additional 169 shares during the last quarter. ARGI Investment Services LLC grew its stake in Microsoft by 9.9% in the 2nd quarter. ARGI Investment Services LLC now owns 37,326 shares of the software giant’s stock worth $9,586,000 after acquiring an additional 3,358 shares during the period. First PREMIER Bank grew its stake in Microsoft by 0.3% in the 2nd quarter. First PREMIER Bank now owns 26,082 shares of the software giant’s stock worth $6,699,000 after acquiring an additional 79 shares during the period. Finally, Seaview Investment Managers LLC raised its holdings in Microsoft by 4.9% in the 2nd quarter. Seaview Investment Managers LLC now owns 26,839 shares of the software giant’s stock valued at $6,893,000 after acquiring an additional 1,261 shares during the last quarter. 69.15% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Microsoft Price Performance

Shares of NASDAQ MSFT opened at $222.31 on Friday. The company has a quick ratio of 1.79, a current ratio of 1.84 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.26. Microsoft Co. has a fifty-two week low of $213.43 and a fifty-two week high of $323.41. The business has a 50 day moving average price of $240.53 and a two-hundred day moving average price of $251.88. The firm has a market cap of $1.66 trillion, a PE ratio of 23.96, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.33 and a beta of 0.94.

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFTGet Rating) last released its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, October 25th. The software giant reported $2.35 earnings per share for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $2.29 by $0.06. The business had revenue of $50.12 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $49.70 billion. Microsoft had a net margin of 34.37% and a return on equity of 42.10%. The business’s quarterly revenue was up 10.6% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter last year, the company earned $2.27 earnings per share. Sell-side analysts expect that Microsoft Co. will post 9.54 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

Microsoft Dividend Announcement

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, March 9th. Stockholders of record on Wednesday, February 15th will be paid a $0.68 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, February 15th. This represents a $2.72 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.22%. Microsoft’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 29.31%.

Wall Street Analyst Weigh In

Several research firms recently commented on MSFT. Cowen dropped their target price on Microsoft from $310.00 to $285.00 and set an “outperform” rating for the company in a research note on Wednesday, October 26th. Fundamental Research cut their price objective on shares of Microsoft to $270.00 and set a “buy” rating on the stock in a report on Tuesday, November 8th. DA Davidson began coverage on shares of Microsoft in a report on Wednesday. They issued a “buy” rating and a $270.00 target price for the company. Cowen cut their price target on shares of Microsoft from $310.00 to $285.00 and set an “outperform” rating on the stock in a research note on Wednesday, October 26th. Finally, Royal Bank of Canada lowered their price objective on shares of Microsoft from $380.00 to $310.00 and set an “outperform” rating for the company in a research note on Wednesday, October 26th. Four research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and thirty have issued a buy rating to the stock. According to data from MarketBeat, Microsoft has an average rating of “Moderate Buy” and an average price target of $294.88.

Insider Transactions at Microsoft

In other Microsoft news, EVP Judson Althoff sold 24,144 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, December 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of $254.27, for a total transaction of $6,139,094.88. Following the sale, the executive vice president now owns 150,047 shares in the company, valued at $38,152,450.69. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Corporate insiders own 0.03% of the company’s stock.

Microsoft Company Profile

(Get Rating)

Microsoft Corporation develops, licenses, and supports software, services, devices, and solutions worldwide. The company operates in three segments: Productivity and Business Processes, Intelligent Cloud, and More Personal Computing. The Productivity and Business Processes segment offers Office, Exchange, SharePoint, Microsoft Teams, Office 365 Security and Compliance, Microsoft Viva, and Skype for Business; Skype, Outlook.com, OneDrive, and LinkedIn; and Dynamics 365, a set of cloud-based and on-premises business solutions for organizations and enterprise divisions.

Further Reading

Want to see what other hedge funds are holding MSFT? Visit HoldingsChannel.com to get the latest 13F filings and insider trades for Microsoft Co. (NASDAQ:MSFTGet Rating).

Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT)



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Sovereignty bills signal discontent in Trudeau’s woke Canada

Alberta and Saskatchewan, with their oil, guns, populism, and a culture of self-reliance, are Ottawa’s adversaries all rolled into one

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The new year begins with Alberta and Saskatchewan on the warpath, thank goodness. In December, the Alberta Sovereignty within a United Canada Act received Royal Assent, while the Saskatchewan First Act recently passed second reading in the Saskatchewan legislature. These Acts will be of limited usefulness as legal instruments, and neither will change the Constitution. But that is not the game here. Alberta and Saskatchewan’s most potent defence against the dual threat of an interventionist federal government and legally imaginative Supreme Court of Canada is broad political dissent. These two bills signal a long winter of discontent with and challenge to the prevailing order.

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The Sovereignty Act empowers the Alberta cabinet, when authorized by the legislature, to order provincial agencies and officers not to enforce federal laws that interfere with provincial jurisdiction or Charter rights. It could create administrative tangles for the federal government but will not limit its constitutional jurisdiction. The Saskatchewan bill, which asserts that province’s exclusive jurisdiction by repeating the language found in the Constitution, can’t and won’t change the way the Constitution is interpreted. Provincial bills cannot unilaterally legislate new constitutional bulwarks against federal intrusion.

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But that is not their purpose. They are not primarily legal tools but political instruments in a culture war waged by Ottawa. At the top of the federal agenda sits net zero, the project to end the use of fossil fuels. The feds have moved aggressively to occupy the field on climate change and thus restrict the development of Alberta and Saskatchewan’s natural resources.

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Fights with Ottawa over resources are not new, of course. In 1980, Pierre Trudeau’s National Energy Program sought to seize the rewards of oil development. But Trudeau Sr. wanted patriation of the Constitution more badly than provincial oil and, largely thanks to the work of Peter Lougheed, then premier of Alberta, the 1982 deal that included the Charter of Rights and Freedoms also added a new section 92A to the Constitution Act 1867.

Though few parts of the Constitution are more clear than exclusive provincial jurisdiction over the exploration, development, conservation and management of oil and gas resources, the Alberta Court of Appeal was the only provincial appeal court to strike down Ottawa’s carbon-pricing regime. “The Act is a constitutional Trojan horse,” the majority wrote, “Almost every aspect of the provinces’ development and management of their natural resources, all provincial industries and every action of citizens in a province would be subject to federal regulation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It would substantially override (the relevant sections) of the Constitution.”

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A majority at the Supreme Court of Canada disagreed, overturning the Alberta decision and instead confirming decisions from the Ontario and Saskatchewan courts of appeal that held the carbon tax a permissible exercise of the federal government’s residuary “peace, order, and good government” power. Establishing a minimum national carbon tax constituted a “national concern” allowing the exercise of the POGG power, said the majority, because climate change was “an existential threat to human life in Canada and around the world.”

Ottawa now aspires to impose its own Impact Assessment Act on oilsands developments. A majority at the Alberta Court of Appeal has declared the federal regime to be “a breathtaking pre-emption of provincial legislative authority” and the Supreme Court will again be the final arbiter. Provincial legislation cannot dislodge the Court’s power nor dictate its interpretation of the Constitution. Is it really any wonder Western Canadians are frustrated and angry?

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The federal political establishment remains predominantly Laurentian but is also now steadfastly progressive. The Trudeau government is Canada’s first fully woke regime. Alberta and Saskatchewan, with their oil, guns, populism, and a culture of self-reliance, are Ottawa’s adversaries all rolled into one. During COVID, Alberta’s government sang from the same authoritarian songbook as the feds and other provinces, but Danielle Smith has disavowed that approach and apologized to the unvaccinated for their treatment. Smith’s political repudiation of net zero is as much a threat to the federal agenda as the text of the Sovereignty Act — though just how much obviously depends on whether she wins this spring’s provincial election.

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That threat she poses explains, in part, the hysterical scorn heaped upon the sovereignty bill when it was introduced. “Danielle Smith’s Sovereignty Act is a silly political dare, written in crayon” snorted columnist Robyn Urback in the Globe and Mail while her colleague Andrew Coyne called for “alpha federalism” to put down growing provincial insurrection. Don Braid in the National Post called the bill possibly the worst legislation in Alberta history while Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek told the CBC that not enforcing federal law was dangerous.

When Gary Mason wrote in the Globe that “Danielle Smith and her acolytes in the United Conservative Party want to fundamentally change the way Canada works,” he did not mean it as a good thing. But unwoke Canadians from across the country hope that Smith’s “silly political dare” succeeds.

Bruce Pardy is executive director of Rights Probe, senior fellow with the Fraser Institute and professor of law at Queen’s University.

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Twitter cyber security at risk as more than 200 million email addresses leaked: Report

Hackers stole the email addresses of more than 200 million Twitter users and posted them on an online hacking forum, reported The Guardian, citing a security researcher on Wednesday.

The data leak was reportedly targeted at exposing the real-life identities of anonymous Twitter users and making it easier for criminals to hijack Twitter accounts, the experts warned, or even victims’ accounts on other websites. “Bad actors have won the jackpot,” said Rafi Mendelsohn, a spokesman for Cyabra, a social media analysis firm focused on identifying disinformation and inauthentic online behaviour.

Since 22 July 2022, threat actors and data breach collectors have been selling and circulating large data sets of scraped Twitter user profiles containing both private (phone numbers and email addresses) and public data on various online hacker forums and cybercrime marketplaces, according to reports. 

“Previously private data such as emails, handles, and creation date can be leveraged to build smarter and more sophisticated hacking, phishing and disinformation campaigns,” added Mendelsohn. The leaked records also include Twitter users’ names, account handles, follower numbers and the dates the accounts were created, according to forum listings reviewed by security researchers and shared with CNN.

What do the leaked records contain?

The leaked records include Twitter users’ names, account handles, follower numbers and the dates the accounts were created, according to forum listings reviewed by security researchers and shared with CNN.

Troy Hunt, a security researcher, said Thursday that his analysis of the data “found 211,524,284 unique email addresses” that had been leaked. The Washington Post earlier reported a forum listing promoting the data of 235 million accounts.

Some reports suggested the data was collected in 2021 through a bug in Twitter’s systems, a flaw the company fixed in 2022 after a separate incident in July involving 5.4 million Twitter accounts alerted the company to the vulnerability, reported CNN.

The breadth of the leaked data could allow malicious actors or repressive governments to connect anonymous Twitter handles with the real names or email addresses of their owners, potentially unmasking dissidents, journalists, activists, or other at-risk users around the world, security researchers warn.

The account data could also be valuable to hackers who can use the information as part of password-reset attempts and account takeovers. The risk is particularly high for individuals who use the same account credentials on Twitter as they do for other digital services such as banks or cloud storage, researchers said, because hackers could take information gleaned from the leak to pry open user accounts elsewhere, reported CNN.

(With agency inputs)




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Fuller Treacy Comment of the Day

Comment of the Day

Video commentary for January 5th 2023

A link to today’s video commentary is posted in the Subscriber’s Area. 

Some of the topics discussed include: Nasdaq-100 extends decline led by cloud services, dollar steady, bonds yields fail to hold advance, gold eases and silver working on a downside weekly key reversal, China extends rebound and related markets benefit. Mexico testing the upper side of a seven-year base. 

Byron and Joe’s Ten Surprises of 2023

Thanks to a subscriber for this note which may be of interest. Here is a section:

2. The Federal Reserve remains in a tug-of-war with inflation, so it puts the word “pivot” on the shelf alongside the word “transitory.” The fed funds rate moves above the Personal Consumption Expenditures price index and real interest rates turn positive, a rare phenomenon relative to the last decade.

3. While the Fed is successful in dampening inflation, it over-stays its time in restrictive territory. Margins are squeezed in a mild recession.

4. Despite Fed tightening, the market reaches a bottom by mid-year and begins a recovery comparable to 2009.

5. Every significant correction in the market has in the past been accompanied by a financial “accident.” Cryptocurrencies had a major correction and that proved not to be a systemic event. This time, Modern Monetary Theory is fully discredited because deficits have proven to be inflationary.

Eoin Treacy’s view – I liked these surprises for the coming year better when they were more risqué. I think the above four are close to consensus. The Fed has no reason to cut rates and will not do so until they have one. That implies significantly higher unemployment.

Here are some alternative surprises:

This section continues in the Subscriber’s Area.

Email of the day on cloud computing

At the risk of representing a bottom, my hat’s off to you Eoin for your call on the cloud. A year ago I remember being in a Covid tent with an investor and you had just laid out the case for the cloud glut. Roll tape on all these guys with buys a year ago including Cramer.

Eoin Treacy’s view – Thank you for this kind email. Back when I put the list of Autonomies together in 2012, the one share people asked me about more than any other was Salesforce. It did not have the big global sales footprint of the other companies. I included it anyway because I thought it would, and wanted to have some forward-looking constituents. Cloud computing subsequently went on to prosper beyond most people’s expectations.

This section continues in the Subscriber’s Area.

Travel Schedule – Future Minerals Forum 2023

I have accepted the Saudi Arabian government’s invitiation to attend the Future Minerals Forum again this year. I am due to fly out Monday evening and will arrive in Riyadh on Tuesday evening with a stop in Frankfurt along the way. I expect to be back in Dallas Friday afternoon. I expect to keep up with the publishing schedule but the time I post articles will be affected by travel. 

At present, I have meetings arranged with the CEOs of Polymetal, Alien Metals, Perseus Mining, Pyx Resources, Aurora Minerals Group, Silver X Mining, Goviex Uranium, Kuya Silver, Esper Satellite Imagery, Saudi Gold Refinery with more to come. If subscribers have any questions they would like me to ask just let me know. 

Eoin’s personal portfolio: stock market index positions closed at profit and shorts opened December 6th 2022

One of the questions subscribers ask most often is how to find details of my open trades. To make it easier I will simply repost the latest summary on a daily basis until there is a change.

 


 

 


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Cyber Harassment How Cybercrime Saw A Growth Amid Increased Digitalization

Cybercrime refers to the use of technology to pursue illegal and criminal ends. The terms “cyberstalking” and “cyber harassment” are frequently used interchangeably, to refer to those who pursue targets online to intimidate or humiliate the target. While stalkers typically seek retribution or attention, harassers occasionally try to either gather information or threaten the target.

Cybercrime against women is rapidly increasing in the era of digitalization, especially in a country like India, which reveals loopholes in the existing laws and policies of the judicial and legislative framework. 

Women, especially young girls are affected by cyber harassment, cyberstalking, sextortion, cybersex trafficking, cyber hacking, etc. Data released by the National Crime Records Bureau shows that the number of cybercrime incidents in 2021 has gone up by 18.4 per cent since 2019, but the number of such cases against women has risen at a significantly steeper rate of 28 per cent. The conviction rate for cybercrimes remains low as on average 87 per cent of cases related to cybercrimes were pending trial at the end of the year.

How are priorities decided and policies implemented?

What does it mean to be secure — or to be insecure — in matters of cybercrime against women which is an empirical reality? 

The use of technology has highlighted how technological developments can impact the daily lives of individuals, potentially putting them at risk. Data can now be easily captured from things such as loyalty cards, cloud service providers, social media, e-mail, internet usage, etc. 

Most of the communication and information infrastructure is owned by private companies that collect data on their users on an unprecedented scale. The pervasiveness of technological developments has made it impossible for individuals to live “off the grid”. 

In a sense, it is surveillance by the consent of individuals as technology has come to permeate all segments of our lives. According to Accenture’s State of Cybersecurity Resilience 2021 report, security assaults climbed 31 per cent between 2020 and 2021. Every year, there were 270 more attacks on each company, up from 206.

Cybercrime has become globalized as a nasty side-effect of the political and economic liberalization of the world. The complexities and paradoxes that globalization brings are also apparent when examining the cases of cybercrime against women. 

A further way in which globalization has provided criminals opportunities concerns how the phenomenon has changed societies and altered lifestyles. According to the 2021 National Commission for Women Reports, the number of cybercrimes against women has surged dramatically during the lockdown. 

The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) compiles and publishes statistical data on crimes in its publication “Crime in India”. The latest published report is for the year 2020. In most of the cybercrime cases against women, the burden to seek and receive justice lies on the most vulnerable, the victim. According to the UN, acts of violence cause more death and disability among women aged 15-44 than cancer, malaria, traffic accidents, and war combined. 

In the twentieth century, more women have died owing to the” societal devaluation of female life’’ than people have died because of war/civil strife. The speed with which cyberspace has pervaded our lives and opened opportunities for new types of security threats is evident in today’s world. 

Many security analysts argue that in an increasingly interconnected world, everything becomes vulnerable because everything can be disrupted. Effective cybersecurity cannot realistically prevent every attack, though it can mitigate the worst effects of an attack by attempting to reduce the extent or duration of any disruption caused by the initial attack.

A key problem for cyber security analysts revolves around attribution and retribution. It may be possible to determine where an attack has come from but impossible to determine if it has been launched by an individual or by a gang for criminal purposes. 

This creates difficulties in apportioning blame and deciding what response might be appropriate. There is much discussion about whether we need a deterrence strategy for cyberspace. Depending on the nation, different laws may be in place to prohibit this activity, thus victims should report their situation to local law enforcement agencies. 

There is an increasing need for sensitization and awareness of law enforcement agencies regarding the gravity of cybercrimes. Awareness campaigns pertaining to safeguarding online identity and the protection of personal data are needed on a large scale to reduce the number of victims of cybercrimes. Law Enforcement Agencies are responsible for taking legal action in line with the Indian Penal Code and the Information Technology Act, 2000 against cyber fraud.

There are some legal remedies under numerous statutes that can help a person who is a victim of cyber violence, even though a full regulatory framework concerning legislation controlling the cyber domain, specifically such crimes, is yet to be developed. 

So far, 156 countries have enacted legislation pertaining to cybercrimes. Prior to 2013, there was no law specifically addressing online harassment or crimes against women in cyberspace. Sections 354A through 354D of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 were added by the Criminal Amendment Act of 2013 to the Indian Penal Code to address cybercrime against women.

The United Nations 2030 Agenda has emphasized the potential of digital technology to enhance sustainability performance. Organizations and regulators could better understand and manage cyber risk as part of their environmental, social, and governance strategy concerns with the use of a standardized framework for monitoring cyberspace. 

Companies like Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, and Netflix have more engaged customers and annual revenue than entire nations like Canada, Brazil, and Russia. Due to the intricacy of constantly evolving new business models and the expansion of many technology companies, government regulations alone cannot effectively control all companies.

[The author, Vishaka Agnihotri, is a student at Kautilya School of Public Policy, GITAM (Deemed to be university).]

Disclaimer: The opinions, beliefs, and views expressed by the various authors and forum participants on this website are personal. 


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Software Defined Data Center Market Size to Gain $186.96Bn by 2028, at a CAGR of 22.5%; Report by The Insight Partners – IT Industry Today

Software Defined Data Center Market Size to Gain $186.96Bn by 2028, at a CAGR of 22.5%; Report by The Insight Partners – IT Industry Today – EIN Presswire

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Towamencin study commission fills vacancy, outlines spending and schedule

TOWAMENCIN — The new Towamencin Government Study Commission has started tackling their to-do list.

Commission members have presented a budget, appointed a new member, and outlined a schedule for when they hope to make the case to the township’s voters for changes to the township’s charter.

“We had to spend a little bit of money for this commission, before we had the chance to develop a budget,” said commission chairman Kofi Osei.

In December the commission held their first meeting, the latest step in a two-plus year skirmish between a group of residents opposed to the pending sale of the township’s sewer system, and the township supervisors who approved it last May.

The study commission has said their goals include examining ways the township’s charter can be modified to add “home rule” provisions giving voters a referendum option for major decisions such as the sale of the sewer system, while seeking other ways to add transparency to township operations.

On Wednesday night, the commission took its next steps, starting with appointment of resident Joseph Rumsey to fill a seat left vacant on the commission. A total of fourteen residents were on the ballot in November, and seven who vocally opposed the sewer sale were elected, but only six took their oaths the following month as candidate Don Lepp said he is no longer able to serve due to health reasons.

“Up until the week before our swearing-in, Don had every intention of serving. However, due to personal issues related to his health, he notified us that he would no longer be able to do so,” said commission member Jenn Foster, reading a statement she said was drafted with Lepp’s input.

“Our purpose is clear: we want to explore how home rule can prevent the sale of our wastewater to a private entity. No one on the opposing slate shares in this purpose,” she said.

Costs to date

The commission heard a presentation from member Martin Cohen on the group’s spending to date, and projected expenses for the rest of the commission’s duration. The total projected budget comes in at just over $37,000, of which just over $21,000 is legal costs for an estimated 80 hours of work from law firm Rudolph Clarke LLC, whom the commission appointed to be their solicitor last month, and an additional amount just shy of $13,000 earmarked for two mailers to township residents.

“The first mailing would announce scheduled and public hearing meetings to 5,824 households, and then there would also be a mailing that would possibly include the same number of households, it could be a copy of the home rule charter and final report, and then also include a townhall meeting date and election date notification,” Cohen said.

Smaller costs have been estimated for a court reporter to officially document those proceedings, web hosting and Zoom meeting streaming costs, fees for legal notices, printing costs, and a rental fee to use the North Penn High School Audion to hold a public townhall sometime in April.

The only question on the budget came from resident Nancy Becker, who ran for the commission and had opposed the sale, and told the group she thought the presentation was “very comprehensive and very detailed,” before asking if the commission’s meeting schedule had been advertised. Cohen replied that the meeting notices had been published in the legal notices of The Reporter, and the commission voted unanimously to send that budget to the township supervisors for approval.

Osei then outlined spending the group has already done, which includes just under $22 for a website subscription, about the same for a domain name, just under $300 total for legal ads for the early meetings, and just over $40 for two months of Zoom broadcasts for meetings so far.

“As well as that, we’d like to send mail pretty soon, probably before the board of supervisors gets a chance to approve the budget. So we’d like to also include the cost of sending that mailer, which is $3,421,” Osei said, bringing the total spent prior to the budget to $3,841.45.

“The website was invoiced to Vanessa (Gaynor, study commission volunteer), the advertising was invoiced directly to the township, and the Zoom was invoiced to me and the mailings will be invoiced to the township,” Osei said, before the group approved that spending.

Upcoming meetings

The chairman elaborated on the commission’s upcoming schedule, with future meetings scheduled at 7 p.m. on the first and third Wednesday of each month through March, then the public hearing and townhall.

“If we do want to write a charter that stops the sewer sale, we would have to put that on the May ballot. So we have these two scheduling items I want to put out — the first is to schedule the required public hearing,” he said.

Commission member Tina Gallagher then made a motion, and asked for the date of the hearing, and Osei suggested March 1 for the public hearing, which the group then approved unanimously. He then asked for a similar vote to set a date for a townhall at North Penn High School, and said the school district has given dates of April 10 and 24 at which the facility would be available. Foster moved to set a date of April 24, and Gaynor then asked for clarification between the public hearing and townhall.

“The public hearing would have a court reporter, and that would be to get a lot of input on the draft of the charter, if we vote to have one. By this April date, we would have voted on a charter,” Osei said.

“This townhall would be more to answer any questions, so residents are informed before the election,” he said.

Kristin Warner, one of the supervisors who voted for the sewer sale, spoke during public comment about that timeline, and asked the commission members to keep the entire township in mind.

“Once you create a home rule, that’s what we have, going forward, to run our government. It’s not just about the sewer, it’s about our entire government, and how this township will run. It’s been 150 years of second-class township management. It’s not perfect, but I think it’s been run pretty well,” Warner said.

“My concern is that this is being rushed through. You’re already talking about, ‘Let’s get it on the ballot in May.’ That’s really rushing a process that, from what I’ve read, is tough to do in 18 months. You have up to 18 months to do a proper home rule study. We need to have forethought as to the overall picture,” she said.

Osei answered that he’s heard the supervisors vow in their December meeting that they’d update their long-term comprehensive and financial plans in the coming year, and that any draft charter would be made public well before the May 16 primary.

“If we vote to draft the charter, it will be available to read. So if you don’t agree, I would encourage you to campaign against the ballot question,” he said.

Towamencin’s supervisors next meet at 7 p.m. on Jan. 11 and the government study commission next meets at 7 p.m. on Jan. 18, both at the township administration building, 1090 Troxel Road. For more information visit www.Towamencin.org.


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More than 200 million Twitter email addresses leaked: Report

Washington: More than 200 million email addresses of Twitter users were hacked and posted on an online forum, according to a security researcher, reported CNN.

The apparent data leak could expose the real-life identities of anonymous Twitter users and make it easier for criminals to hijack Twitter accounts, the experts warned, or even victims’ accounts on other websites.

“Bad actors have won the jackpot,” said Rafi Mendelsohn, a spokesman for Cyabra, a social media analysis firm focused on identifying disinformation and inauthentic online behavior.

“Previously private data such as emails, handles, and creation date can be leveraged to build smarter and more sophisticated hacking, phishing and disinformation campaigns,” added Mendelsohn.

The leaked records also include Twitter users’ names, account handles, follower numbers and the dates the accounts were created, according to forum listings reviewed by security researchers and shared with CNN.

Troy Hunt, a security researcher, said Thursday that his analysis of the data “found 211,524,284 unique email addresses” that had been leaked. The Washington Post earlier reported a forum listing promoting the data of 235 million accounts.

Some reports suggested the data was collected in 2021 through a bug in Twitter’s systems, a flaw the company fixed in 2022 after a separate incident in July involving 5.4 million Twitter accounts alerted the company to the vulnerability, reported CNN.

Twitter didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. Its communication team, along with roughly half of Twitter’s overall workforce, was gutted after billionaire Elon Musk completed his acquisition of the company in late October. The significant staff reductions could now add to concerns about the company’s ability to respond to security threats.

The breadth of the leaked data could allow malicious actors or repressive governments to connect anonymous Twitter handles with the real names or email addresses of their owners, potentially unmasking dissidents, journalists, activists, or other at-risk users around the world, security researchers warn.

The account data could also be valuable to hackers who can use the information as part of password-reset attempts and account takeovers. The risk is particularly high for individuals who use the same account credentials on Twitter as they do for other digital services such as banks or cloud storage, researchers said, because hackers could take information gleaned from the leak to pry open user accounts elsewhere, reported CNN.

Verified Twitter users caught up in the apparent leak, or users with particularly large followings, will be particularly valuable targets as a result of the leak, security experts warned, as those account holders may be especially influential celebrities or susceptible to extortion.

To protect themselves from phishing attempts, internet users should use unique passwords for each online service and keep track of them using a digital password manager, security researchers say. They should also enable multi-factor authentication for each of their accounts, and exercise caution when opening unsolicited email or links, reported CNN.

According to the cybersecurity news outlet BleepingComputer, which did claim to test the data, the latest dump appears similar to a leaked dataset advertised on hacking forums in November containing an alleged 400 million records, but slimmed down to eliminate some duplicate records. Twitter has not commented on that leak.

Reports of the leak could expand Twitter’s already significant legal and regulatory risk.

Successive incidents at Twitter have led to the company signing two consent orders with the FTC since 2011 to improve its cybersecurity posture. Violations of FTC orders can lead to fines, business restrictions and even sanctions targeting individual executives, reported CNN.

Notably in November, top Twitter officials responsible for privacy and security resigned from the company, just days after Musk closed his purchase of the platform and amid the mass layoffs that in some cases cut whole departments.


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